Sometimes it takes a huge sacrifice from an individual to grab the world’s attention. Without this sacrifice their aims or cause would, in all likelihood, never have received any attention at all. This is true in the case of Tony Nicklinson who died last week after a long and public campaign to legalise assisted suicide.
Mr Nicklinson wasn’t the usual suspect to lead a public, media led, campaign aimed at changing perceptions. Instead of a well groomed individual who eloquently put over their campaign messages via the 24 hour news media Mr Nicklinson, who suffered from ‘locked-in syndrome’ after a life-changing stroke couldn’t even speak. Instead Mr Nicklinson communicated by using a retina scanner to write out his thoughts on a computer. This didn’t detract from the heart-felt anger and injustice he felt or his determination to change the law in this country. He became a frequent figure on the news – his utter frustration plain for all to see.
This once fit, healthy man could have chosen to hide away from the world but instead recognised that the state he was in after the awful stroke was as powerful a message to those he wanted to influence as any words he could have written. His lawyer said after his death that he was a “gutsy, determined fighter to the end”. Sadly he died dejected after the courts ruled against him. He couldn’t fight any longer but I have little doubt his impact on this sensitive area of the law will be long-lasting because he was willing to sacrifice a lot of his pride to get his point across.
For this I make Tony Nicklinson my Communicator of the Week.